Select Board/Finance Committee--Budget Hearing

Tuesday, March 16, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
A meeting of the Select Board

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://www.gotomeet.me/townleverett/selectboard-meeting

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (408) 650-3123

Access Code: 502-625-813

Join from a video-conferencing room or system.
Dial in or type: 67.217.95.2 or inroomlink.goto.com
Meeting ID: 502 625 813
Or dial directly: 502625813@67.217.95.2 or 67.217.95.2##502625813

Posted to: Select Board

Meeting of Select Board

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Tom Hankinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Julie Shively, Chair, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Remote meeting
  • 7 pm.
  • Present: For the Select Board: Julie S.
  • Tom H.
  • Margie M.
  • Lisa S. For the Finance Com.: Ann D. Phil C.
  • Steve N.
  • Gregg W.
  • Jed P. For the School Com: Craig C.
  • Bethany S.
  • Kip F.
  • Gene S.
  • Jess R. Others in attendance: Nancy G.
  • Josh N.
  • Rich N.
  • Susan M.
  • and others by phone.

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:00 PM

Meeting closed: 10:00 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Appointments

    • 7:00: Town-wide Budget Hearing

      General Discussion...
      Finance Committee Chair, Ann D. opened the meeting. She explained that the Personnel Bd. and Select Bd. had approved a 1.3% COLA adjustment for Town employees then went line by line and leaving time for questions at lines that showed an increase beyond the recommended 1.5% budget guidance given earlier in the budget cycle. Lisa explained that the elections budget has increased due to changes in election law allowing for expanded early voting and no-excuse mail-in voting. Chief Minckler answered questions about staffing, training requirements and the difficulties of budgeting because of unknown changes from the Police Reform Bill. The salaries of the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief were discussed. They asked for raises of $6,000 each last year. The Select Board asked that that they divide the number in half and get $3,000 last year and $3,000 this year. The total increase in the Public Safety section of the budget was 5.6%.
      The school budget was not discussed other than to say that there is an out-of-district placement this year and staffing raises brought the total budget up 7.7%. At the Regional School level Bethany explained that there are three budgets and assessment methods. She recommended that the board take a vote on the preferred funding method to send a message to the other rest of the district about their preference. Julie’s preference was the 5-year rolling average, which is not one of the final options. Motion: To approve version A of the budget options at the 55% statutory method. Vote: 5 in favor (Tom, Ann, Phil, Jed, Gregg; 1 opposed, Julie.
      The Public Works section of the budget was up 1%. The Library materials were beyond the requested parameters likely due the MAR requirements.
      There was a lengthy conversation about how much to fund Stabilization. The plan itself, calls for $300,000 annually to fully fund. Everyone understood that that was not attainable at this time. It was agreed to fund the usual $80,000 plus an additional $40,000 plus a special article for $40,000.
      Special articles were reviewed. It was decided to wait on the paving of the Safety Complex and Library and the fire bay floor and floor drains. Repairs to the old salt shed will come from Free Cash. The new dump truck and jaws of life (reduced to @ $8,000 with other additional funds being added) will come from Capital Planning. The $1,000 annual stipend for education and certification of the Town Clerk will be discussed at the next meeting.
      The Select Board and Finance Committees agreed that they needed an additional meeting to finalize the budget.
      Motion: To move forward with the following special articles: dump truck, jaws of life, repairs to salt she and $40,000 to Stabilization. Vote: Unanimous for Select Bd and Finance Com.
      Finance Committee adjourns from the meeting.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To approve version A of the budget options at the 55% statutory method. Vote: 5 in favor (Tom, Ann, Phil, Jed, Gregg; 1 opposed, Julie.

      Pass: Aye: Tom Hankinson. Nay: Julie Shively.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To move forward with the following special articles: dump truck, jaws of life, repairs to salt she and $40,000 to Stabilization. Vote: Unanimous for Select Bd and Finance Com. .

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson.

    • 7:30: Bethany Seeger, Regional School Committee Update

      General Discussion...
      The school budget was not discussed other than to say that there is an out-of-district placement this year and staffing raises brought the total budget up 7.7%. At the Regional School level Bethany explained that there are three budgets and assessment methods. She recommended that the board take a vote on the preferred funding method to send a message to the other rest of the district about their preference. Julie’s preference was the 5-year rolling average, which is not one of the final options.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To approve version A of the budget options at the 55% statutory method. Vote: 5 in favor (Tom, Ann, Phil, Jed, Gregg; 1 opposed, Julie.

      Pass: Aye: Tom Hankinson. Nay: Julie Shively.

    • 8:00 : Dog hearing

      General Discussion...
      Julie opened the dog hearing which was called at Pierre Benoit and the Animal Control Officer’s request for a barking dog(s) owned by Morgan Fisher. The hearing had been postponed by an hour due the length of the budget hearing. The Animal Control Officer and Pierre Benoit were not in attendance. This is the second dog hearing called for this residence and the second time the complainant has not attended the hearing. The board discussed the barking with the dog owners. The dog owners had complaints themselves about Pierre’s dogs. The board thanked the dog owners for waiting and warned about the barking. Lisa was asked to write to Pierre about his lack of attendance, that another complaint will not be entertained without his presence and that he should try to resolve the matter in-person with the neighbor, before coming to the Select Board.

  3. Business

    • Annual report dedication

    • Approve minutes of March 2, 2021

      General Discussion...
      Approved as written.

    • Extend FY'17 CDBG grant (one project prolonged over winter, more interest)

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To extend the FY 2017 CDBG Grant until June 30,2021. Vote: 2-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson.

    • Franklin County Retirees proposed 3% increase

      General Discussion...
      Franklin Regional Retirement wrote to inform that they plan a 3% increase for retirees. Julie wrote a letter stating that she thought they should stick to the rate of inflation.

    • Insurance for FY '22

      General Discussion...
      Margie reviewed bids she received for insurance outside of health insurance. She received three bids—only two of which covered the full insurance line. One vendor was about $5,000 more than MIIA but MIIA makes that up in discounts, grants and dividends plus we have had excellent service from them so Margie recommended MIIA. The board agreed.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To stay with MIIA for the town’s insurance. Vote: 2-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson.

    • New letters re: police vaccination

      General Discussion...
      After a complaint from a resident Chief Minckler will remind officers that masks must be worn at all times.

    • One Step for Growth Projects

      General Discussion...
      The projects for One Stop for Growth were reviewed again and discussed (Susan Lynton and Tom Ewing also joining the conversation). The five chosen projects to bring forward were: the Teawaddle Hill Rd. waterline; Dudleyville Rd. reconstruction; photovoltaic micro-grid study; ADA walkways; and a Master Plan.

    • with Finance Committee - Go over special article requests and Capital Planning requests. Permission to overspend highway snow and ice budget.

      General Discussion...
      Margie explained that some accounting updates had not been done for the last several months. One of the fall-outs was that money from STM in October had not been entered into accounts making the deficit spending of the snow and ice budget unnecessary.

  4. Other business

    • Town IT

      General Discussion...
      Margie stated that Calm Computing was non-negotiable about the rate of pay for computer IT.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To hire Calm Computing at $80/hr for Town computer IT needs. Vote: 2-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson.

    • Board of Health Hire

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Board of Health Chair, Mike Fair asked the Board to hire Nick Venti as a contractor for the Board of Health at $25/hour to do some COVID tracking data. Moved, seconded, carries.

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson.

  5. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Lisa Stratford

Minutes approved on Thursday, Apr 15, 2021

Posted to: Select Board